The House approved a fiscal year 2012 bill for USDA on June 16 that would,  among other things, block the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from implementing the rule on production and marketing of poultry and livestock. The bill has a total budget of $17.250 billion which is $5 billion less than the president’s budget and $3 billion below 2011 levels.

A series of amendment were adopted on the House floor during consideration of the bill. Rep. Nugent (R-FL) offered an amendment that would add $2 million to the Agricultural Research Service, offset by a cut to the Foreign Agricultural Service. An amendment by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) reduces discretionary funding in the bill by .78 percent ($147 million) and was necessary to ensure the bill complies with an existing World Trade Organization agreement. Rep. Jeff Flake – (R-AZ) offered an amendment, which passed 283-128, would prohibit funding for the construction of ethanol blender pumps or ethanol storage facilities.

The bill also blocks USDA from integrating climate change programs and slashes nearly $1 billion from water conservation, environmental quality, and rural energy programs. In addition to the restrictions of climate policy, the bill cuts nearly $1 billion from environment and energy programs authorized by the 2008 farm bill and cuts at least $9.96 million from current spending levels for USDA water, wetlands, and soil conversation programs. The bill also cuts $350 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and $171 million from the Conservation Stewardship program.

Rural energy programs, particularly those authorized by the farm bill, are largely defunded under the bill. The farm bill authorized $105 million in fiscal year 2012 for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, but reduced its funding to $55 million. The bill eliminates funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program that was authorized to receive $211 million.  However,  the Rural Energy for America Program received an infusion of at least $3 million through amendments adopted in the Appropriations Committee and the House floor. Initially, funds for this program were zeroed out.

The bill now moves to the Senate where action is expected to start in July.